“Salvation is of the Jews,” He says. Jesus makes these remarks to a Samaritan woman that he encounters at a well in the fourth chapter of John. We do not typically see this message shared around Christmas, but the birth of Christ does have a connection with Jews and Judaism. For example, the God-inspired Jewish prophets said the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). They also saw that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) Matthew points to the first prophecy in the opening chapter of his gospel:
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23)
In the next chapter, Matthew writes that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, something he says was foretold by Micah:
…For thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel (Matthew 2:5-6)
Luke also talks of Mary’s virginity (Luke 1:27), while pointing out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7). Even John, whose writings have a different purpose, tells us that Christ came from David “out of the town of Bethlehem” (John 7:42).
The point of this rather long introduction is to establish that Jesus’ birth fulfills prophecies made early on in God’s Word. The Holy Bible also makes it clear as to why mankind is in need of a savior. All men are sinners (Psalm 51:5, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23). Good works will not save us (Proverbs 14:12, Isaiah 64:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, we Jews and Gentiles need a savior.
In the Old Testament, a blood sacrifice was required for the remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11). The Messiah, Jesus, is our atonement, as He was slain for our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6) and resurrected (Psalm 16:10, Matthew 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-20, Luke 24:1-53, John 20:1-31, John 21:1-25). All of this was part of God’s master plan, and it started in Bethlehem with a Jewish couple, Joseph and Mary, and her son Jesus.
This Christmas, we should be in prayer for people that have not trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This includes the Jewish people. Psalm 122:6 talks about the need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, God loves the world (John 3:16), He still loves the Jews (Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 11:2), and God’s blessing is upon those who pray for them (Psalm 122:6, Genesis 12:3). Moreover, it is God’s Will that the Jews be saved (Romans 11:23-27, 2 Peter 3:9). A Holy Spirit-inspired Paul says as much in Romans 10:1. Like all mankind, the Jews are in need of a Messiah (John 8:12-24), and that Messiah is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:14). His Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It came to the Jew first, and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16). I thank God for the Jews because salvation is of the Jews.